SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- The nearly restored Joltin Joe isn't seaworthy yet, but it was boat show worthy last weekend.
Joe DiMaggio's 22-foot pleasure boat made the trip from Martinez to the annual Tahoe Wooden Boat Classic at the Tahoe Keys Marina on Friday and Saturday.
The Chris Craft runabout, which the Sons of Italy and the Martinez Carpenters Union have been working to restore since 2009, wasn't ready to leave its trailer for Tahoe's glistening blue waters, though. The restoration work is expected to last another year, with hopes that the power boat will be completed in time to mark the 100th birthday of Martinez's native son.
The Joltin Joe was presented to DiMaggio in 1949 by New York Yankees fans during Joe DiMaggio Day at Yankee Stadium. DiMaggio was known to take joy rides on the Bay with Marilyn Monroe, including a wedding night cruise in 1954 from San Francisco to their reception in Martinez.
The boat was later used for the family fishing business before DiMaggio presented it to the city in 1991, where it was placed on outdoor display.
After years of decay from being exposed to the elements, the Sons of Italy and Carpenters Union launched a fundraising effort in 2009 to restore the boat. Carpenters have been working on the project for more than three years, meticulously rebuilding the boat piece by piece, preserving as much of the original as possible.
Upon completion, it will be permanently displayed indoors, and perhaps make a return trip to the Tahoe Wooden Boat Classic, this time all the way to the water.
Donations to the restoration effort can be made to the Joltin Joe Restoration Trust Fund, c/o City of Martinez, 525 Henrietta St., Martinez, CA 94553.